Weaponised drones from American companies for Indian defence use are on the table according to a Senior Advisor at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).
“I think weaponised drones are on the table, I think the original purchase was for surveillance but those are platforms known as the Predator. The Sea Guardian is basically an unarmed Predator that is kitted out for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and things like that…I think the idea of armed drones has been basically approved in principal on the US side so it’s certainly something which is on the table,” Vikram J Singh, Senior Advisor for Défense and Aerospace at the USISPF said.
“India has the intent to buy the Sea Guardian and some other versions of a drone made by General Atomics for long endurance surveillance of the borders and the maritime space,” he said.
US-India defence dynamics ::
Commenting on the impact of US-India defence dynamics in light of allegations that Pakistan used US supplied F-16 aircrafts against India, Singh said, “The agreement to sell Pakistan those F-16s goes back to before the US and India had completed a single defence deal. The United States has a complicated relationship with Pakistan, there is no doubt that US views Pakistan as enabling terrorism. But there is also no doubt that the US has been dependent on Pakistan for a lot of things, particularly related to the war In Afghanistan.”
This is where both India and US have similar objectives.
“There is this peculiar situation where India can only access Afghanistan through Iran and the US can only access Afghanistan through Pakistan. In the best cases, what good partners do is give each other some forbearance in those situation. The US has not criticised India’s dependence on Chabahar and the need to go into Afghanistan through Iran even though Iran is under severe sanctions and on balance India has understood the US position,” he said.
SOURCE : THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE